Saanich council meeting as committee-of-the-whole will decide on renumeration rate Tuesday. (Black Press File).

Saanich council set to raise remuneration rates but impact on net pay unknown

Council members will consider their rates Tuesday

Saanich councillors could end up raising their own remuneration Tuesday, but the net effect on their respective pay remains unknown.

As per its own policy, councillors will determine their own remuneration rates during budget discussions, with rates based on the average that council members in eight municipalities of comparable size receive.

If adopted, Mayor Fred Haynes would see his remuneration rise to $116,4492.22 from $102,877.39, an increase of 13.22 per cent. Each of the eight councillors will rise to $46,047.95 from $41,309.50, an increase or 11.47 per cent.

RELATED: New Saanich council faces long list of financial issues

RELATED: Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

RELATED: Sooke council delays action on pay raise

But it is not clear how these proposed increases would impact the net pay of council members. Federal income tax changes effective Jan. 1 mean that they must declare their entire remuneration as taxable. The federal government previously exempted one-third of their remuneration on the assumption that elected officials incur expenses throughout their working year, to the tune of one-third of their pay.

The new system allows members of council deduct expenses they pay from their income the same as every other Canadian with legitimate employment related expenses, said Megan Catalano, a Saanich spokesperson. “The municipality paid and will continue to pay for some expenses such as attendance at some conferences…as per existing policy,” she said. “Mayor and [councillors] are not (and were not) allowed to claim any expenses paid by Saanich.”

The remuneration question comes after the previous council punted the issue to the current council by endorsing the status quo, which calls on councillors to revisit remuneration rates halfway through the budget process.

This choice meant members of council have seen their net pay drop since Jan. 1, 2019, when the tax changes kicked into place.

“As each elected official’s tax circumstances are different, the impacts on net pay for each would be different, but yes, their net pay will be less than in 2018,” said Catalano.

Assuming that council will eventually approve the higher remuneration, it is also not clear whether their 2019 net pay will catch up to their 2018 net pay, as the proposed increases remain the below what was previously exempted.

In 2018, $34,295 of the mayor’s $102,887 remuneration and $13,770 of each councillor’s remuneration were exempt.

This said, the net pay of council members will hinge on their claimed expenses.

Catalano said public members will get to see any expenses that Saanich pays for members of council in June when the municipality releases the annual statement of financial information. “What councillors choose to pay out of their net pay and legitimately claim as deductions on their personal tax returns is not public information,” she said.

The previous council’s decision to pass the buck to the current council generated opposition from Coun. Colin Plant, who had wanted council to raise rates to that point the net pay (after taxes) would be the same rather than defer to the choices of other municipalities.

Coun. Judy Brownoff, however, at the time rejected Plant’s criticism. “I think [this is the] best option at this stage, and it has nothing to do with not having a backbone,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Langford considers regulating sale of spray paint following string of vandalism

Regulations could involve restricting sale to minors, locking up spray paint

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read